In the UK there are thought to be over 5 million people suffering from asthma. Many of the people suffering from asthma are interested in trying anything and everything to help their condition, including both conventional and alternative medicines.
Alternative medicines tend to be plant based tablets or drinks sold in health stores or prescribed by traditional herbalists. Therapies may also be used such as; acupuncture, hypnosis and yoga.
Alternative medicines and therapies have not been studied and tested as much as conventional medicines, however, in May 2014 a new process was introduced to regulate the production and sale of alternative medicines. It is also worth noting that most conventional medicines were once made completely out of plants, and most conventional medicines these days still contain at least one active plant ingredient. The difference is that alternative medicines contain all of the plant, not just one active ingredient. This is because herbalists believe that using the entire plant is more powerful and effective compared to just using one active ingredient.
Alternative therapies and medicines should never be tried without consulting your GP or consultant first. They may negatively affect the medicine or treatment you are currently receiving and/ or make your current symptoms worse. If you do opt to try alternative medicines you should buy them from a reputable retailer and/ or a qualified herbalist.
Some of the different forms of complementary therapies and medicines used to treat asthma are:
Breathing and Relaxation
There are lots of different breathing and relaxation techniques used to treat asthma. A lot of people opt to try hypnotherapy which aims to help a person learn how to enter a state of deep relaxation as and when needed. The Papworth Method and Buteyko Method are well known methods used to help people suffering with asthma. The Papworth method has been around since the 1960’s and includes a lot of training in order for it to work.
Exercise that involves the relaxation and focus of the mind alongside physical movement can be really helpful when it comes to relieving asthma symptoms. Yoga is a particularly popular form of exercise because it uses a lot of breathing techniques alongside the physical movements and some forms of yoga place a huge emphasis on meditation.
Acupuncture is a popular form of alternative therapy, although there is no proof yet that it works to help people with asthma. Some studies have shown that it can be effective in the short term and is more effective for treating people suffering from mild to moderate asthma.
This is a practice where tiny amounts of a trigger food or element (pollen, dairy etc) are introduced to the diet in order to encourage the body’s natural self-healing response. In the case of someone with asthma the homeopathic medicine will include tiny amounts of well known asthma triggers.
Herbal remedies for asthma can be standard tablets or medicines, or they can be tailor made mixtures created by qualified herbalists. When a herbalist makes a medicine for a person they may include plants to combat lots of different symptoms and issues – not just the asthma. For example; if a person suffers from anxiety which in turn triggers their asthma, the herbalist may include plants or herbs known to help a person relax, alongside plants or herbs to help with asthma symptoms and then other plants that may make the solution more palatable as well.
If you are interested in alternative medicine or tablets for asthma, it is important you do your research before you do anything else. Firstly consult your GP or consultant and speak to them about what you are looking into doing – it may be the case that certain therapies or herbal medicines will clash with your current care package. You should also make sure you read as much as possible about the different therapies and medicines available. Read articles from both sides of the argument, and read forums and message boards to see what other people have tried and how it has worked for them. Never purchase alternative medicines from anywhere other than health shops, qualified herbalists and reputable retailers.